by AT News Team

Each year the Seventh-day Adventists who are religion professors at colleges and universities gather for an annual joint meeting of their two professional organizations, the Adventist Theological Society (ATS) and the Adventist Society for Religious Studies (ASRS). This year the meeting will convene November 15 through 17 in Chicago just prior to the annual meeting of the related major academic groups, the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and the American Academy of Religion (AAR). Given the current debate in the denomination, perhaps it is not surprise that the focus of this year’s meeting is ordination.
 
The keynote address will be “A Short History of Ordination” by Darius Jankiewicz from Andrews University. He has made a presentation on the same topic at several places recently and one of those can be viewed on line at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScKb3teILmI
 
Leo Ranzolin, Jr., from Pacific Union College, will present “The Case for Women’s Ordination: The Trajectory of an Egalitarian Ethic in the Pauline Letters.” John Brunt, senior pastor of the Azure Hills Church near Loma Linda and former dean of the School of Religion at Walla Walla University, will discuss a paper entitled “Does the New Testament Contain a Clear Practice of Ordination for Ministry?” A paper on “The Vatican’s Rejection of Women’s Ordination” will be read by Kessia R. Bennett from Andrews University. Theodore Levterov from Loma Linda University will present a paper entitled, “Principles of Ordination in the Early Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
 
There will be a panel discussion on “the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary’s Statement on Ordination” chaired by Edwin Reynolds from Southern Adventist University who was recently named as one of the members of the North American Division (NAD) study committee on the theology of ordination. The other panelists will include Denis Fortin, the dean of the seminary; Nick Miller and Teresa Reeve from Andrews University; Kendra Haloviak Valentine from La Sierra University, who is also a member of the NAD committee; and Zdravko Plantak, chairman of the religion department at Washington Adventist University. This discussion may provide a preview of the internal debates in the NAD committee.
 
Other presentations on the ordination theme will include “Your Daughters Shall Prophesy” by Bev Beem from Walla Walla University and Ginger Harwood from La Sierra University; “The Anglican Journey to Equality in Ministry” by Gilbert Valentine, the noted historian of the Adventist movement from La Sierra University; “Women’s Ordination as a Threat to Church Unity” by Mark Carr from Loma Linda University; “Images of Power, the Image of God and a Kingdom of Priests” by Jean Sheldon from Pacific Union College; “An Exegesis of Genesis 3:16 in the Light of Genesis 4:7 and 3:15” by Jacques Doukhan from Andrews University; and a paper presenting a Biblical conciliation for the Adventist debate on ordination by Bruce Boyd from Canadian University College.
 
ATS is generally known as the more conservative of the two Adventist scholarly groups requiring of its members a statement of faith similar to that of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). Of the two presidential addresses on Friday evening, November 16, the presentation by ATS president Stephen Bauer from Southern Adventist University is the only one during the meeting to depart from the ordination theme. He will speak on “Creation and Kenosis.” The ASRS president, John Reeve from Andrews University, will address “Ordination and Priesthood.”
 
Sabbath morning the scholars will worship with the North Shore Church in Chicago. The meeting also includes ten sectional meetings and smaller groups with specialized concerns.
 
Adventist Today has not been able to get any information on when and if these papers will be published for a wider audience. There have been one or two joint publishing projects in the past in which a book resulted from one of these annual meetings and ATS often publishes papers presented by its members in its journal.